Back in November, Jack Spirko over at The Survival Podcast started hatching this brilliant idea. He asked his listeners to undertake a challenge; pick 13 skills to improve or master in 2013, and track goals and progress on a purpose-built website.
With some hard work by some talented folks, 13Skills.com is up and going strong, and I couldn’t be more excited about the skills I’ve picked for myself. 2013 is going to be a productive year when it comes to skills mastery and development, and I hope to encourage others as I continue along my path to personal liberty, self-sufficiency, and self-reliance.
From the 13Skills.com homepage:
“13Skills.com is the Home of the 13 in 13 Challenge Sponsored and Created by The Survival Podcast. Join us as we help to restore a can do spirit to our modern world by committing to learning 13 new life skills in 2013.”
The goal of the challenge is personal growth. It isn’t a contest to see how many skills you can check off a list. In fact, when I picked my 13 skills, I was hesitant to choose skills categories in which I possessed even a slight bit of experience. After some thought though, I realized that even with the skills I feel I’ve mastered, there’s still room to stretch myself and test new boundaries.
My 13 skills for 2013:
- Animal Husbandry — Those of you who follow the blog know that we added chickens to our homestead last year. The chickens are here to stay, but we still have so much more to learn. Our first year with chickens has been an excellent learning experience; 2013 will only get better!
- Camping — We started camping with the Cub Scouts back in 2011, and we enjoy it greatly. We’ve camped in cold weather and hot weather, but we only have about 5 trips under our belt. There’s so much room for skills improvement here, and I also want to accomplish a silly goal. I want to sleep under the stars with no tent — just once to say I did it!
- Canning — When I picked this goal in December, I had never used my pressure canner. Adding protein to our food storage concerns me greatly, but mastering the pressure canner gives me a freedom I didn’t have before. So far, I’ve canned turkey and homemade bone broth, but I intend to make it a much bigger part of our food storage plan.
- Concealed Weapons Permit — For years now, I’ve been talking about getting my gun permit. In the past, I hadn’t made it a priority because I was worried about challenges I might face as a visually impaired gun owner. Fortunately for me though, Indiana is a “shall issue” state, so it’s time to get off my duff and get my lifetime permit while I still can!
- Dog Training — Having worked with two dog guides, I do have some experience with dog training. The thing is, I never really did too much of that with our white German Shepherd who could be incredibly useful here at the homestead. She learns so fast; I just need to stay consistent with our work. Not only will she be earning her keep, but she’ll be helping my emotional well-being too. She’s a good girl, and I think she’ll love what I have planned for us.
- Entrepreneurship — I’ve had this blog for a while now. I’ve been dreaming about what I want to do with it, but 2013 will be the year that things really take off here. I also have plans to participate in our town’s farmers’ market this year. Anything I can do to bring some extra resources onto the homestead is certainly worth the effort!
- Fermenting — I’m really excited about lacto-fermenting. I want to learn to make pickles for me and my kids, kraut for my husband and son, and fermented salsa and hot sauce for those of us who’ll enjoy it. I’d also like to look into experimenting with some fermented beverages. We’ll see how it goes though.
- Firearms — After I get my carry permit, I plan to push for training. It’ll likely be harder for me to find someone who’s willing to work with me, but it’s incredibly important. We also plan to send Fred and my daughter to an Appleseed event this spring so they can get some good training/experience.
- Fire Making — For many years, I was paralyzed by a fear of fire. It took a lot of strength to get comfortable with lighting a candle. When I saw this skill on the list, I thought, “I’d likely be one of those folks Jack talks about who couldn’t start a fire with dry materials and a lighter,”, so I decided to make fire making a goal. My husband can teach me well, and I’ll have plenty of opportunities between campouts and homestead cleanup. It should be an interesting experience for me.
- Fruit Orchard — We bought some fruit trees last year, and we managed to get two into the ground. We’ve been talking about nurturing fruit production here on the homestead since we bought the place, but we’re floundering a bit. 2013 should provide many opportunities to do a better job with both fruit trees and bushes/canes/etc. We also have a lot of wild berry canes on the property that we need to figure out how to tend/support. We want to enjoy a bumper crop of wild blackberries this year. Yum!
- Gardening — Last year, my gardening goal was simple. I wanted to eat at least one piece of produce that I’d grown in the ground. I accomplished that goal, barely. In 2013, I plan to work even harder, and we’re starting our own seeds this year. We’re really excited to put out the effort and learn even more than we learned last year!
- Knots — I know NOTHING about knots, and I’d like to learn so I can teach my son’s Cub Scout den.
- Soap Making — I’ve made my own laundry soap for several years now, but I really want to learn to make bar soap. I asked my mother to teach me, and God bless her, I think she’s forgotten that I have an extensive chemistry background. She was apprehensive at first, but I think I have her talked into it. I don’t want to have to buy soap anymore.
Feel free to follow my 13Skills.com public profile, and join me here at the blog for in-depth updates. Like I always say, what we do matters! Challenging myself with the 13 in ’13 challenge is a great way to bring me one step closer to claiming my own liberty, and I couldn’t be more excited!